Show Report: Wind Up Watch Fair New York 2023

worn and wound wind up watch fair 2023 collectors corner new york

Wind Up Watch Fair is one of the largest and highly anticipated annual watch events in the US. With over 80+ brands in attendance, it’s an event for true watch enthusiasts to get their hands on some of the year's newest affordable and micro brand watches.

As I expected, a large crowd of people were lined up at the doors before opening. Not even a rain-soaked day could stop them from patiently waiting. Everyone from seasoned collectors to first-time watch buyers came to rub shoulders and talk about watches. As we waited, it only seemed right to walk around and ask a few attendees what they were wearing. Here are a few interesting watches I saw while speaking with them:

Doors opened and the first booth we stopped at was Benrus to check out their latest release, the Ultra Dive. This dual crown diver is a 1:1 remake straight from their archives and it’s true to the original 1960’s era watch, perhaps more so than any previous modern release from the brand. At 36.5mm, it makes for a fantastic option for someone who appreciates the super-compressor design but wants an example to knock around and/or wear in the pool. We also admired the vintage product display they had at the booth, touting its water-resistance. Next, we visited Marathon. An iconic brand that’s been manufacturing watches since the 1940s. I have a soft spot for military watches and have always been fascinated by how every service member has a unique connection with their watch. I admire when a watch brand stays true to their DNA throughout the years and Marathon has continued to demonstrate that. They are also one of the very few brands today that still produce watches with tritium as their luminous material. 

As luck may have it, We currently have an H3 model watch in the shop with some real military provenance. Check it out.

Before making our way to a few more watch booths, we had to stop by one in particular. For the true watch nerd, Ad Patina has been meticulously scouring the world for unique print ads on watches and other pop culture subjects. Since 2017, founder Nick Federowicz has taken his passion for the hunt and rediscovered some of the most iconic print ads produced over the last few decades. Since we were there on the first day, we were lucky enough to thumb through an extensive stack of one-of-a-kind ads. Wes fell in love with a pair of Rolex and Tudor ads and after a little back and forth he was the proud owner of some new office art.

After a quick 2-slice lunch it was back to the show and onto the next booth. For the vintage watch aficionado, you’re probably familiar with the defunct watch brand, Enicar. Now aptly named Sherpa watches, they have re-imagined the iconic compressor case watch in 2 models, the Ultra Dive and OPS. These watches are real head turners. They harken back to a time in watchmaking where innovation and creativity was uninhibited. The OPS model seen here touts a hardened Black DLC coating and is a 200 meter DNV certified dive watch. It's a watch with classic styling but fully upgraded to today’s standards with some slight but welcome ergonomic updates. We had a great conversation with the owner Martin and his wife.

The last and final stop of our day was at another born-again vintage brand, Nivada Grenchen. This brand has soared in popularity over the last few years, Following in the successes of a vintage boom. They are without question one of the few brands who have a serious appreciation for their heritage. Every watch they produce is almost an exact replica of a watch that was produced nearly 60 years earlier, albeit some modern updates and improvements. They also have a huge variety in dial configurations, lume colors and bracelet options. We’re big fans of their watches and it was a real treat to be able to compare their vintage models to their modern versions in person.When we were done talking with the salesperson at Nivada Grenchen, he pulled us aside to show us another watch they had helped consult on. A fellow vintage watch buff himself, he showed us the limited edition Vulcain Cricket Nautical, this is a modern re-make of a 1960’s watch that was targeted to recreational divers during that time period. This cricket was a popular model at the time and this version was equipped with a “triple case back” that acted as a resonance chamber, to amplify the sound underwater while still guaranteeing water-resistance. For its time it was one of the most technically advanced dive watches of the era. Today, it’s a reminder of the uniqueness of watches and how much we can attribute today's current crop of watches to the past.While we're vintage collectors first and foremost, events like Wind Up Watch Fair are great for the watch industry. Aside from local watch meet-ups, where else can you find this level of hands-on time with the latest watches? In most instances, the same person selling you their watch is the same person that designed or built the watch.

Events like this help build community, educate buyers and eventually guide them in developing their personal preferences. We’ll be sure to document our visit next year and happily report on any new releases.

Steven D. Elliott is designer, menswear aficionado, and of course avid watch collector based in NYC. When he’s not chasing around his young daughter, he’s attending local meetups and lamenting about the ones that got away.

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